How to look after your child's mental health

Little girl crying
Coping with a child who has mental health issues is never easy for parents or carers. We take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure a healthy, happy recovery.

Mental illness in children can be a difficult experience for parents and children alike. Often it may go unnoticed, or may present itself in subtle ways. There are, however, many things you can do to support your child.

Mental illness in children

Approximately one million children in the UK suffering from some kind of mental health disorder ranging from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and general psychotic disturbances. A child in a deteriorating state of mental health can exhibit the symptoms in different ways, such as eating disorders or shifting behaviour patterns, but if recognised early, with the appropriate care and attention, a full recovery is possible.

With family reorganisations and breakdown of the parent-child relationship, being major triggers of a child’s mental health issues, building a positive family environment plays a vital role in a child’s recovery.

You can also support your child’s mental health by:

  • building good communication with your child
  • being willing to talk about anything your child is concerned about
  • keeping an eye out for shifting behavioural patterns
  • seeking professional help as soon as you suspect there is a problem

Kids' mental health advice and support

Find more information and advice about mental health and children on the NHS Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) website.

MindEd for Families is a free website which provides detailed advice and guidance for parents and carers. The site contains bite-sized e-learning topics to help families to identify and support a child with a mental health condition, as well as guidance on positive mental well-being.